The Chiaras recently played in New Britain, CT, and stopped by Community MusicWorks to visit with our friends in the Providence Quartet, and also to see what Community MusicWorks is all about, as we had not yet seen it in action.
We participated in what they call a "Performance Party" [Editor’s note: see February 16 entry] which was basically a concert for all of the student participants in Community MusicWorks, but with a safe environment in which to play. The concert began with us performing the first movement of Beethoven’s Op. 59 No. 3 followed by a cover we do of Prince’s "Let’s Go Crazy," and then the students performed.
I have never seen a concert quite like this one, students performed their basic beginner works interspersed with "public service announcements" – fake commercials for things like practice consultants and sightreading practice books – and there were brilliant uses of comedy to combine performances of students at vastly different levels. For instance, in "Break Allegro" (pronounced by the narrator as "break a leg-ro"), based on Suzuki book 1’s Allegro, at the fermata near the end, beginner students suddenly jumped out and began tremoloing like crazy until Jesse Holstein, who was leading the performance, cut them off.
In the end, it was the safest environment for performing mixed with fun I’ve seen. It’s also a tradition for them to bring in high-level professional ensembles and individual performers to expose the kids to the highest possible level as often as possible, something I never had in my early musical training outside of recordings and the occasional stuffy concert.
-Greg Beaver, Chiara String Quartet